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Topic: Trying to heal an open wound after double masectomy

Forum: "Middle Age" 40-60(ish) Years Old With Breast Cancer —

Meet others in this age-range who share similar life issues.

Posted on: Jun 22, 2013 06:01PM

amylovesstu wrote:

Has anyone else dealt with this; I had my double masectomy; no reconstruction yet on May 15, 2013; i have since been back to see the surgeon weekly because she pulled of the scab and left a big hole that my husband is now packing with sterile wound wash and saline; how do you deal with the pulling, burning, and on the same side as the open wound i have a lot of numbness in my left arm, hand; i am simply on the edge. Though my oncologist says i should be getting pain meds from the surgeon, they refuse to give them to me; i have a bad back that i was in therapy for before and now wish i could get back to that but with this hole i can't.?.  I started my cancer journey last June 2012; several biopsies; lumpectomy with it in my lymphnodes; straight to chemo; then with no testing the oncologist at that time tells me i have to have a double masectomy. Went to get 2nd opinion at the Susan B. Komen center an hour and a half away; another biopsy; and more tests to find out not only did the first surgeon miss the cancer by 1/2 inch during my lumpectomy but my left side had another mass was there we didn't know about. So onto my new surgeon and new oncologist; all i get is it takes time and you have to quit smoking ( electric cigarettes); I know it has an affect but i am trying, just under so much stress because of this; i am an outdoor gardener, love to walk, swim and enjoy the summer sunshine and i hibernate in the winter; but had leg surgeries for blood clots 2 years ago that keep me from doing much walking or standing for very long. I'm only 44 but i'm tired of being in this bed; and only getting out for my sons ballgames and to the doctors. I lost my oldest son 8 years ago this coming monday; due to brain injury while we were in a car accident when he was a baby; he lived to be 17;  I have 5 more children ( 2 adults) but 3 left to raise; twin girls age 14; youngest boy 10. My oldest daughter is in the process of moving from missouri to the same town i am going to for treatment, but not till october. I just met my husband in 2011; we married in 2012 and 3 months later; boom, cancer is here. Lost my hair, my boobs, and i'm so totally insecure; was before all this because of past, now even more so. Between us both we have 9 children and 8 grandchildren; his oldest living with us thats in his 30's; trying to help but he had an accident years ago that caused brain injury; and is on seizure meds;  anyway, i'm mumbling, just want someone out there to understand where i'm at as far as the healing issue, smoking issue.....I am trying, but to the point of just getting tired. How long does it take to heal from the inside out when you have a deep wide hole???? I have to go to radiation as soon as it heals and see oncologist this week to soon start hormone therapy...............Any advice???? 

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Jun 23, 2013 12:47AM juliaanna wrote:

Amylovesstu,

Sorry to hear of all your challenges.  It can take up to 6 weeks for wounds like yours to heal.  Here are a couple of things you can do to help with the process.  Be sure you are eating a high protein diet.  Vitamin C and Zinc are also helpful in promoting healing.  Vitamin C dosage is usually 500mg two-three times a day and Zinc 220mg three times a day.  Check with your doctor first, but this is the recommendation by the Mayo Clinic.

Best wishes, J

"Just live your life so that every morning, when you plant your feet on the floor beside your bed, the devil gets a cold chill and says, 'Oh CRAP' She's awake.'" Original diagnosis 2/7/12-mucinous carcinoma. Dx 2/7/2012, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 4/5/2012, DCIS Dx 4/5/2012, IDC Dx 4/5/2012, ILC, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/5/2012 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Surgery 6/1/2012 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 11/16/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 7/26/2013 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction
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Jun 28, 2013 05:08AM amylovesstu wrote:

Thank you Juliaanna; I have heard of the high protein but not the zinc? I'll have to work on those and start doing my smoothies again; trying to watch the weight and protein isn't always my first choice; so maybe if i work on that and the other we shall see what happens; again, thank you so much; blessings!! Cool

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Sep 15, 2013 08:20PM Nadia61 wrote:

Hi Amylovesstu:

I too am going through breast cancer again, once in 2005, right breast lumpectomy, chem and rad.

This time again right breast stage 1 no lymphnodes, thank god.  Did have a dbl mascetomy this time.  Had surgery August 13 and my incisions are not healing. Left breast got infected and the right breast wasnt healing correctly.  Had another surgery sept 5, dr cut out all dead skin, cleaned me up and took left breast expander out, left the right one in.  Its been 10 days and the incision has 3 spots on rt breast that are now open. the spots are a cream color. 

Left breast has one spot open but is red colored. Called the dr and just said to keep it dry and keep changing the dressing.  I dont know what else to do at this point. Suppose to go back to work on 9/30. On another note, i wont have my left expander put back in for 3 months.   I would really like to know what can i do help speed up this process.  I am also afraid she will have operate again.

My biggest fear is that i wont be able to get the implants and will have to deal with prosthesis, not what i want to deal with as I am also single at this time and dont have a significant other.  That would createa whole new obstacle to overcome when meeting new men as well.  I just want to be whole again.  Been tr ying to be positive but its getting pretty discouraging with these problems of healing.

Any suggestions would be great.



Thanks Nadia61

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Feb 9, 2014 10:09AM Njmom3 wrote:

I had healing issues as well.  Mr doctor kept nursing along my wounds weekly, doing debreedment in his office, which was definitely not fun, and having me use Syntal cream and with special bandages daily.  Finally after a month of all this, with big gaping wounds and oozing from the site after my drains were out, I went back in for surgery.  He replaced my te but didn't fill it and re did my incision.  Best decision ever!  Healing has been a breeze now like night and day!  Good luck!

Dx 11/12/2013, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/20/2013 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 1/21/2014 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 2/11/2014 AC Chemotherapy 4/22/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Hormonal Therapy 7/15/2014 Surgery 12/5/2014 Reconstruction (left)
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Mar 26, 2015 03:11AM clarrn wrote:

I was just wondering the same thing. I had cellulitis that caused my implant to extrude and it was taken out. Gaping wound now, packed open. Not sure how long it will take to heal. Will update for others looking for information!

30 years old at dx, Implant lost due to infection. Open wound packing for 108 days :( Dx 12/4/2013, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Dx 1/29/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/27/2014 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/8/2014 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 2/27/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/23/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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May 12, 2017 08:25PM Ctully wrote:

I know this is considerably later than some of the posts out there. But I am thankful to have read the posts to know that although rare - there are people out there with a similar experience. I had left breast mastectomy with removal of lymph nodes in early January 2017 and began my radiation in late March. My original incision which was completely healed (I thought). After the first radiation a spot opened with a tiny hole that continued to get bigger - like daily. My plastic surgeon stitched it back together. Each time another portion would open and he would stitch it back together - 4 times total.

I have seen him almost weekly and he has had me on strong antibiotics to prevent infection to get me through the radiation.

Njmom3 - it was reassuring to read your post, I hope to have similar results.

It would be interesting all these years later to see you all are doing.

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May 12, 2017 09:27PM - edited May 12, 2017 09:29PM by Moderators

Dear Ctully,

Welcome to the BCO community. We are sorry that your cancer, surgery and complications have brought you here but we are glad that you reached out. As you pointed out this is an older thread. You could always try to send the members a Private Message to check in and see if they are still active in the community. It also can be helpful to start a new topic so you can see how more current members are doing. Check out the Surgery Forum as well. Let us know if you need any help with navigating. You can Pm us as well. Keep us posted on your recovery. The Mods

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Jul 22, 2017 10:14AM clarrn wrote:

My open wound packing progressed to a small wound vac (pico) and was healed in 6 months. 2 years later and I am just getting ready to try reconstruction again! !! Excited but terrified too :)

30 years old at dx, Implant lost due to infection. Open wound packing for 108 days :( Dx 12/4/2013, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Dx 1/29/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/27/2014 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/8/2014 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 2/27/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/23/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Mar 1, 2018 07:45AM shann03 wrote:

Hi

I am have several small wound openings and have had the pic pumps on and they close and when they come off they open again and the whole cycle starts again. So did you have the pico pumps on for 6 months constantly and if you did how did it stay stuck. I am quite concaved and it stays stuck for about 3-4 days and they don't stop going off. Also I have an ooze and when that hits my skin it burns but no infection.

I have had major surgery many times before and not once have had this problem, the doctor seems to have given up on me and never see him and just the nurses see me and they do what they want. No one seems to have any answers ever and don't know where to go to from lhere.

I am in Australia and we have a different health care and we go public or private and public is the only way anyone can afford this type of treatment so you become a number when you don't fit in the box. GP's here have no idea either and I can't afford private as I don't work and raising teenagers by myself.


Thanks for listening.

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Mar 1, 2018 10:57AM Moderators wrote:

Hi Shann03,

Welcome to the community!

As well as posting here, you may find it helpful to check out the Australian Forum in the link below:

Australians and New Zealanders Affected by Breast Cancer

We hope you get answers soon!


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Mar 2, 2018 01:23AM clarrn wrote:

I had the pico for about a month. Also found it annoying, discontinued due to a yeast infection that it caused.

30 years old at dx, Implant lost due to infection. Open wound packing for 108 days :( Dx 12/4/2013, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Dx 1/29/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/27/2014 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/8/2014 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 2/27/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/23/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Apr 2, 2018 10:15AM shann03 wrote:

Hi clarrn

Just wondering did you heal and if so how long and how did it heal? I am still struggling and just have had another large opening that I am dressing every 2nd day. They seem to put me into the too hard basket here and don't want to deal with it.

I am hopeing I can get some answers shortly. Been reading the others and might have to go under and clean it and re stitch as I have now got an infection and re started my antibiotics again could be helping, can't see surgeon till Friday 3 Aprl 2018. Fingers crossed !

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Apr 6, 2018 06:43AM clarrn wrote:

Shann03- I only started healing after the implant was removed. It was packed open (I could see my own ribs!) and took 6 months. The result is terrible, but hopefully I can get a flap recon next year.

30 years old at dx, Implant lost due to infection. Open wound packing for 108 days :( Dx 12/4/2013, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Dx 1/29/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/27/2014 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/8/2014 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 2/27/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/23/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Apr 15, 2018 02:58PM - edited Apr 15, 2018 03:00PM by Jane2310

I had a bilateral mastectomy about 6 weeks ago. Came through most of it very well. Drain was in my right breast for over 4 weeks (this is the breast with the cancer). Looking forward to reconstruction in the next 4-6 months but I've hit an road bump.

The right breast since day one has had an open wound about the size of a golf ball. I went in to my Dr. 2-3 times a week to have the wound scraped. I was using a wound gel and I kept it covered.

We are now on vacation and won't be back home for 2 weeks and the wound has gotten smaller (size of quarter) but is now turning black and the odor coming from it is AWFUL. I have no fever or symptoms of anything else going on. I have spoke to my Dr and he said I should just keep it dry (no gel) and covered.

Are there any others going through this that know of anything I can do, short of going home, to help the healing. I wondered about putting vitamin E on the wound.

I can hardly stand this odor. I can't even enjoy my vacation.

Thanks in advance.....


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Apr 15, 2018 10:21PM Moderators wrote:

Hi Jane,

Welcome to the community forums, we're glad to see that you found us.

Sorry to hear that you've been having open wound issues for so long and that it's affecting your holiday.

Sometimes the boards can be slow but we're sure other members will be along to offer their advice/experiences to you.

We do hope that this heals asap.

Keep us updated on how you're doing!


To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Apr 23, 2018 08:51AM clarrn wrote:

jane- mine never went blavk or smelled but I am glad you are in touch with your doctor. Does he have you in antibiotics? I would definitely go see him/her as soon as you get home.

30 years old at dx, Implant lost due to infection. Open wound packing for 108 days :( Dx 12/4/2013, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Dx 1/29/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/27/2014 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/8/2014 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 2/27/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/23/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jul 12, 2018 10:33PM jenco60 wrote:

I am battling cancer bumps coming through the skin and my incision never healed. One problem is Diabetes. Check your sugar. If it is off, healing is tough no matter what. I am now on insulin day/night and I am also using gel called Silver gel. You can get it in a health food store. I hope soon to heal better.

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